Some friendships last a lifetime, but the truth is most don't. In fact, the average friendship only lasts seven years.
I sat down with psychologist and friendship expert Dr. Irene Levine, author of "Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend," for some tips on how to make an "unfriending" as painless as possible for all parties.
Dr. Levine says there are many reasons that friendships end. There are events that she calls "friendship killers," hurtful acts of betrayal that lead to loss of trust. But the most common cause is simply people drifting apart.
When ending a friendship, Dr. Levine cautions to keep in mind that this is a moment that your friend will remember for the rest of his or her life, so it's important to be as fair as possible. Don't say things that are hurtful, accusatory or undermining to them. They once were your friend, after all. She also advises that you should never close the door completely. Allow the option of reconnecting down the road.
Dr. Levine also discusses the pros and cons of online friendships. Even though they allow friends to stay in touch despite hectic schedules and distance, it can be difficult to interpret the context of communications and things can be lost in translation. In order to maintain a friendship successfully, you have to take it offline and make time to give your friend face time.
For advice in navigating your friendships through all of your stages of life, visit Dr. Levine's' s blog: The Friendship Blog.